Summer Cram

Today is August 26.  I think I’ve been in shock since August 1 rolled around and I just haven’t kicked it yet.  How in the world is it the last month of summer and, for that matter, how is it the END of the last month of summer.  I’ve never been one to wax nostalgic (which is disappointing because I’d love to be able to use that phrase more) but time has been one tricky bastard this year.  It continues quietly on it’s way, unassuming, undetected, and then WHAM, it slaps you in the face with Labor Day weekend.

Not all hope is lost here though, friends, chins up.  We spent last Saturday doing all the summer stuff we could think of in Maine with our friends Fred and Becca.  Becca missed out on almost all of the usual summer activities while she was working up at Lakes and, naturally, we were happy to play catch up with her!  Lucky for us, Collin is from Kennebunk A.K.A. vacation central USA.  For all the jokes and frustrations that come from living in a tourist town, Kennebunk is a gorgeous space to call home.  Mash every iconic picture you have in your brain relating to summer in New England and the mental collage you create will pale in the comparison to the excellence that is Kennebunk.  I kid you not.

ME perfection

ME perfection

We used Collin’s parents’ magical vacation-land house as a jumping off point.  We put the 4 of us with a badass picnic in a canoe and boated down the river to Parson’s beach as the tide was going out.  We ate, napped, surfed, and played in the sunshine all afternoon before the boys battled back up river at low tide.

4 hooligans in a canoe

4 hooligans in a canoe

Collin and the driftwood

Collin and the driftwood

Our picnic consisted of watermelon gazpacho (which we do not recommend and therefore will not be sharing the recipe), gin and tonics in a water bottle (highly recommended), a lot of pita bread, and one little bottle of water for the 4 of us to share.  This was the only flaw in our brilliant summer adventure plan. Always bring more water.  Always.

We ended the day back at the house with a fire pit and a delicious home cooked italian (and vegan!) meal courtesy of Mama Mia herself (Thanks!) with Collin’s parents.   It was a fantastic and delicious way to spend a sunny Saturday.  I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet and, after this toasty week, maybe summer’s not quite ready to say goodbye to us yet either.

Stay just a little bit longer, summer.

Stay just a little bit longer, summer.

 

NH 48

Where we live in NH is just 2 hours from the White Mountains. Like a fool, I barely took advantage of this during my 4 years at UNH. Luckily it didn’t take me too long to realize the error of my ways and we’ve spent most weekends of this summer hiking in the mountains.  Collin decided in May to go for the NH 48 – hiking the 48 4000′ peaks – in 2014.  And so, we’ve been hiking.  A lot.

So far we’ve done 12 peaks together and he’s done another 12 with other friends.  Going for the 48 has been an outstanding challenge and an awesome way for us to explore new trails every time we go to the mountains.  It’s been the perfect way to choose our trips so we’re not overwhelmed with the options.  Especially since we are not the most decisive people on the planet.

I can say, without a doubt, that the day we did the Kinsmans and Cannon has been my favorite so far.  It was a 13 mile day and we pushed to do it in 7 hours which made me feel like a rockstar.  To finish a day like that and still have energy and a positive attitude at the bottom is so rewarding.  My  family was all about hiking when I was a kid- we only went on 2 non-mountain vacation in my entire childhood, I swear!- and I mostly remember just suffering to the top every single time.  When it feels good to work to get to the top and you just want to go harder- that’s when it clicks and you realize why people do this.

Being gross on the top of Cannon

Being gross on the top of Cannon

2 weeks ago, after hiking Willey, Tom, and Field, we were very fortunate to get to spend a night at the Lakes of the Clouds hut below the summit of Mt. Washington.  A good friend of ours spent the summer working up there for the AMC and we were so lucky to enjoy an experience that most people  have to pay more than $100 a night for.  We hiked up the Ammonoosuc trail with them and stopped to play in a waterfall/mountain pool along the way.  I did not jump in after being informed that the water was “f***ing cold”.

Playing in the mountain pool

Playing in the mountain pool

We spent a magical night up at Lakes.  The weather up there is usually startlingly bad- cloudy, windy, rainy, cold.  The night we were up there was definitely windy and brisk but it was so clear we walked out to the lake Saturday night without headlamps under the full moon.  Does it give you chills?  It should.  If you ever have the opportunity to spend the night up there, do it.  I promise you won’t regret it.

On Sunday we hiked around the alpine zone with our friends for a couple hours before heading back down via the Jewell trail.  The alpine garden trails were rad and the flowers!  Look!

Me and green stuff!

Me! Flora!

On Labor Day, Collin and our same two friends are doing the Presidential Traverse which is 10 peaks over about 23 miles.  It’s a marathon of hiking, essentially, and I’m so excited for Collin to crush it!  Send good vibes his way on 9/1, he’ll be working hard.

We’ll have just under 15 to go after Labor day and I can’t wait for some gorgeous fall trips!  NH is a magical place, we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Starting Again

I spent all of yesterday and most of today trying to decide if I should start over 100% with blogging.  I thought about creating a new name and a brand new site.  I came up with a few ideas, but every time I wrote something down, I came back to this quote; one of my favorites.  “Turn your face towards the sun, let the shadows fall behind you”*.  It was an important mantra when I started this blog 3 years ago as a nervous and naive student in Rome and it’s just as important now, a year and a half out of college, living with someone our second apartment, and working my first full-time job.  I realized that there was no better title and no reason to start 100% over.  Thus I am resurrecting my one time travel blog…ish.  I am starting again.

I’ve been toying with this idea of blogging for awhile.  Mostly, I just don’t see who would want to read about my day-to-day and if no one’s reading, I had a hard time seeing the point in writing.  But, I’ve also been lacking an outlet and needing a hobby and came to realize (with some help and encouragement) that it doesn’t necessarily matter who reads and enjoys this if I enjoy creating it.  So, for now, this is for me.  And you, if you like it.

Since last we met, I graduated from UNH in December 2012, spent 6 weeks driving around the country with my roommate, and now live back in the seacoast area of New Hampshire with my boyfriend, Collin.  We’ve been dating and living together (read: doing ridiculous things) for about 1.5 years.  I’ve been working as a legal assistant for a little over 1 year and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Here, I plan to recount our weekend adventures, home DIYs, experiments with our recent foray into Vegan-ism, and general hopes/dreams/ideas in the random order that these things tend to come to the surface.

So!  Here’s to a beginning of something.  Here’s to experimenting with something new and picking up something old.  Here’s to you and here’s to me.  Here’s to starting again, for the hell of it.

DSCN0386

*Maori proverb

Centristi at Sea!

Or.. how we were on a ferry a couple times but mostly traveling around the beautiful island of Sicily for 10 days.

Apologies for how delayed this post is.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get in a Fall Break one before we leave again in 2 weeks for Campania!  Time works a touch differently here, in that we never have any.  The Centro is a mysterious place.

The Sicily trip was October 8th-16th.  We hit Paestum the first day and spent the afternoon wandering around the remains of enormous Doric Temples and the Roman Forum there.  We got to climb on stuff.  It was great.  The best part about that day was the beach by the hotel.  The water was SO warm even though the air was pretty chilly and we were in the water as the sun was setting.  I have never seen anything so gorgeous.  We also got to go back and look at the temples at night all lit up.  That was pretty cool too.

The 9th was mostly spent driving which was a little hard to handle.  It also didn’t help that we were driving through mountains so we kept going through tunnels and then driving over these ridiculous high land bridges.  I do not like bridges.  When we got to Reggio Calabria we stopped to see the Riace Bronzes and that was awesome.  They haven’t been on display in a long time.  We also stayed at a 5 star hotel that night.  It’s really the only way to live.

Monday the 10th was our actually crossing to Sicily.  Ferry boat!  Then we hit the beautiful tourist trap of Taormina.  We saw the Greek (and then Roman) theater there.  Such an amazing view.  After lunch we got back in the bus and drove to Syracuse where we stopped at the fort and got to play/explore the ruins for about an hour and a half.  Probably my second favorite activity of the entire trip.

Tuesday we went to Ortigia and saw some more temples, walked through this really cool open air market, saw the Quarries, Greek theater, and the remains of the Roman amphitheater.   It really is a whole different experience staring at these monuments while hearing about them.  It is impossible to fathom how huge these temples were unless you’re standing in front of the remains.

For the rest of the week we continued to move around Sicily hitting Agrigento where we swam at the mob beach, Selinunte, Motia, and Palermo.  Saturday night-Sunday morning we took a ferry from Palermo to Naples and then drove about 3 hours back to Roma.  All in all it was a fantastic experience.  The living situation was a little intense.  We kept feeling that the Centro staff had specifically chosen hotels that were so far removed from anything that we didn’t have a chance to escape and get away from each other.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Look for a Fall Break update hopefully coming soon.  “About how all my stuff got stolen….”  True story.

About the polizia, Ravenna, and how we all went a little crazy..

Don’t worry, these are all good stories.

The sad irony of having a blog is the longer I procrastinate writing a post, the longer the post has to be!  We finished a little early at the Forum today so I’m taking full advantage of this precious free time to blog instead of do homework.  You’re welcome!

Firstly, so that you don’t panic, the trip to the police station 10 days ago was not because we did anything wrong.  We need a special permisso to live in Italy as Americans and, even though the administration tried really hard to avoid any complicated procedures of us having to go to the polizia, we did have to make a group trip to get fingerprinted.  Unfortunately this eliminates my plan to steal an ancient artifact since they can trace me.  Darn.  That was kind of a rough way to spend Saturday morning (bus left at 9 am) but it all ended well and we should be getting the formal paperwork in a month or so (IRONIC BECAUSE WE’LL BE LIVING HERE THE WHOLE TIME!) so that’s all taken care of.

The week after that was pretty normal.  Trips around Rome, checked out the Palatine hill, Forum of Caesar, and the  Centrale Montemartini.  I very much enjoy the fact that my ‘average week’ consists of trips to restricted, ancient sites and phenomenal museum.  No big……. 😀

Friday afternoon we took a 5 hour bus ride to the charming town of Ravenna to check out some 5th century AD sites.  Mostly churches which are pretty far from my interest in ancient history but these churches were so incredibly and beautifully designed that I couldn’t help but love them a little bit.  We also went in a couple Baptistries and Mausoleums.  It is really amazing how creative people were (and are) and the beautiful craftsmanship they put into everything they created.  I could have stared at one mosaic in one church for hours and still not have been satisfied.  The pictures of these don’t even come close to doing the colors, shapes, and designs justice.  On Saturday night I went out to a very nice dinner in Ravenna with some of my friends – luckily ordering food and wine in Italian is pretty straightforward!

Sunday morning we got on the busses at 8:30 with the intention of driving make to Rome along the same route that Caesar marched when he started his famous civil war with Pompey.  That day was cool, for the most part.  We only got off the bus 4 times, including when we stopped at the Italian equivalent of a Rest Area for food.  By the time we got close to Rome we were all pretty much done of being so close to each other (and trying to do piles of homework on a bus) and then we hit the traffic.  Let me tell you, Roman traffic is like no traffic you have ever seen.  The problem here was that our bus did not have the Italian EZ Pass so we were stuck in the cash only lane for about an hour and a half.  It got pretty desperate at one point.  I won’t divulge the frightening details but let’s just say none of us are looking forward to the impending trip to Sicily…..

This week was Augustus Week!  Hooray!  Yesterday we got to go into the Forum of Augustus which was FREAKING AWESOME.  We also so the Ara Pacis, Augustus’ Mausoleum (what’s left), and a bunch of invisible monuments.  Those aren’t so exciting but it’s fun trying to use your imagination to picture what it would have looked like.  I got a friend of mine to take pictures in the Forum of Augustus so those are a surprise for you AND for me!

We leave for Sicily on Saturday morning.  I’m very much looking forward to going to the beach!  And it’s supposed to be cooler there (75 instead of 85 during the day).  I’m just rejecting the heat now and I insist on wearing pants everywhere.  Pants also help with the disgusting amount of mosquitos here.  They swarm around exposed flesh.  It’s terrifying.

Yesterday was also the first day of my internship with the American Academy in Rome!  There are 14 of us and we’re going to help put together and exhibition of ancient artifacts (for which we’ll get credit in the catalogue!!) and help them organize some of their ancient samples to make room for new (still ancient) samples!  I’m very very excited about that.

ALSO (jeez so much to say) I solidified my Fall Break plans so the week after Sicily I’ll be adventuring up through Italy to Paris, France for a couple of days.  Should have internet there so hopefully I can motivate myself to blog in real-time!

Shout out to Matt and Molly Trappe!  Congratulations on your beautiful daughter, Taylor.  Good luck and I’m hoping to meet her this summer!

Also shout out to Emily Holland.  Because she asked ;( Hope you’re enjoying real fall @ UNH ❤

Feels Good to be On Top

This program is exhausting.  Even though we consistently have 3 day weekends (if you aren’t in Art History) I still am barely keeping up with the work and I’m constantly tired and needing caffeine.  Despite that, this is such an amazing opportunity.  Lemme tell ya why…

On Tuesday we did the ancient Triumphal Route around Rome and made it into 2 temples that regular tourists or even some scholars aren’t allowed into normally.  Seriously.  How cool is that!? We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside so we just stood in there and tried to absorb it all.  The 2 exclusive temples were the Temple of Portunus and the Temple of Hercules Victor.  Basically this week in lecture we learned all about how the Ancient Romans just really like to show off and, if you could afford it, building amazing temples was the best way to become well known in the political sphere.  A lot of these temples were preserved because they were converted into Christian churches in the Middle Ages so there’s Medieval Christian art on the inside of them.  Some, like the Temples of Spes, Janus, and Juno Sospita in the Forum Holitorium, just had their foundations and columns built straight into the churches and were preserved that way.

On Wednesday we went  up and saw a couple of museums and the Sanctuary of Diana in Nemi.  In the last museum there we saw the most amazing sarcophagus again preserved because it was reused and buried in the Middle Ages.  The bones of the 9 people who were buried in it in Medieval times are actually still in there.  That sarcophagus was easily one of the most fantastic pieces of artwork I have ever, or will ever, see.

Thursday we made our way up to modern day Palestrina which is the location of the ancient Roman ally of Praeneste.  There we saw the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia and the museum that exists there now.  We climbed up 863 steps and a steep ramp to get up to that temple.  Thank goodness it was 100% worth it.  With special permission we were allowed to take pictures in the museum!

In between these trips we have classes as well so the first 3 days of the week are pretty stressful.  It’s all worth it though.  I’m excited for it to start cooling off here!  I’m missing my New England fall a little bit.

Next weekend we’re taking a Centro trip down to Ravenna for the weekend.  It will be nice to get out of Rome although we’re hoping for some free time to be able to explore a new town.  Also hoping for a decent bus ride so that we’ll have time to do homework!

Let me know what you guys want to here about!  This program, as my head-professor told us yesterday, is not a ‘holiday’ program so it’s pretty intense academically.  Traveling hasn’t been encouraged as of yet so I’m excited for a potential week-long trip to Greece over Fall Break.

Also, I really need to learn some Italian..

Grazie Mille

It is Sunday and Sunday is homework day.  Expect a lot of blog posts to happen on Sundays!

Wednesday: We took 2 trains and a tram down to the Villa Giulia museum and walked all through it before lunch.  There were so many beautiful artifacts in there.  Last week we focused on the Etruscans so that was most of the artwork we focused on but we also learned about the different shapes of Greek pottery and their functions.  The most exciting thing to see there was the Apollo of Veii.  Just an amazing sculpture.  I got pretty annoyed at the kids who ignored the museum staff and took pictures (AND FLASH PICTURES 😡 big no no) anyway.  After lunch we had classes in the afternoon.

Thursday: We went back to the Forum Romanum and got to see several things with special permission (!!) including the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Fons Juturnae, and the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua.  That last one was an extremely special permission site.  We weren’t allowed to take any pictures or even move from the center of the room but it was so incredible.  We watched the restoring some of the frescoes.  After those amazing sites, we moved on to the ones that all the regular tourists get to see including the Basilica Aemilia, the Curia and Comitium, the Temple of Saturn, and the Regia.  It was about 90 degrees on Thursday and there isn’t much shade in the Forum.  It was a tough morning.  The weekend started after lunch on Thursday for me since I’m not taking either of the classes that meet Thursday afternoons!

Friday: The administrative staff, Franco and Pina, set up a wine symposium with a local expert.  He was, ahem, quite good-looking and knew so so much about wine.  I haven’t felt like such a stupid American in a long time!  Then we had a lovely dinner together out in the garden.

I won’t go into too many details about the weekend 🙂 Although next weekend I might be traveling!  On Saturday night we had another barbecue.  Tonight I think we’re going to go to an actual restaurant for dinner.  Fingers crossed that it won’t be too expensive…

As always, the rest of the pictures are up on my Facebook.  It just takes too long to put them all up here!

Back to homework!